Papa Roach Biography
Papa Roach is an American rock band from Vacaville, California. Formed in 1993, their first major-label release was the triple-platinum album Infest (2000). The group’s success continued with their gold album Lovehatetragedy (2002), their platinum album Getting Away with Murder (2004), The Paramour Sessions (2006), Metamorphosis (2009), Time for Annihilation (2010), The Connection (2012), and F.E.A.R. (2015). Papa Roach has sold more than 20 million album copies worldwide and are known for their songs “Last Resort”, “Between Angels and Insects”, “She Loves Me Not”, “Getting Away with Murder”, “Scars”, “Forever”, “Lifeline”, and “Face Everything and Rise”. Their ninth studio album, Crooked Teeth, was released on May 19, 2017. The first single from the album, “Help”, topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in April 2017.
The formation of Papa Roach began in January 1993, when lead singer Jacoby Shaddix and drummer Dave Buckner met on the Vacaville High School football field, where the two ended up talking about music. They were later joined by lead guitarist Jerry Horton from nearby Vanden High School (Horton was introduced to the band through his girlfriend), trombonist and rhythm guitarist Ben Luther and bass guitarist “Homie” Will James. They decided to enter the school’s talent show, where they performed a version of Jimi Hendrix’s song “Fire”, but they ultimately did not win the contest. In March 1993, Ben Luther left the band. At this point, Papa Roach were practicing every day and touring, playing every gig they could get. Their first tour van was called Moby Dick, where Jacoby was inspired to come up with his first stage name “Coby Dick”. The band’s name comes from Shaddix’s step-grandfather, Howard William Roatch, who was nicknamed Papa Roach. Roatch committed suicide in 2006 after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The band pays homage to him with The Paramour Sessions and during live performances of the song “Roses On My Grave”.
In 1994, Papa Roach released their first EP titled Potatoes for Christmas. Drummer Dave Buckner was temporarily replaced by Ryan Brown, as Buckner was spending the year in Seattle studying art. In 1995, they released a demo at Sound Farm Studios titled Caca Bonita. By this time Buckner was back. In 1996, they replaced original bass guitarist Will James, who had become heavily involved in a church summer camp, with Tobin Esperance, because James’ absence would limit the band’s summer practicing and touring. As Esperance had been with the band as a roadie for a while, the transition was an easy one.
Papa Roach has been described as alternative metal, alternative rock, hard rock, nu metal, and rap metal. In their early independent releases and on their first two major label albums, Infest and Lovehatetragedy, the band tended to use nu metal and rap metal. Before Papa Roach released their major label albums, Jacoby Shaddix’s singing style was compared to Chino Moreno and Lynn Strait of Snot. Additionally, with their 2009 album, Metamorphosis, as the name expresses, the band felt that their music was going through a transformation to “stuff that’s…harder and faster”. Allmusic has compared the band’s recent work to 1980s glam metal, Allmusic staff writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote “At the close of the 2000s, the quartet has shed the rap and the angst, ditching all the alt-metal accoutrements to become a knowing update of an ’80s Sunset Strip sleaze rock outfit.”
In 2004, frontman Jacoby Shaddix said the following in an interview with the Dallas Music Guide regarding the band no longer using rapping in their music: “…the rapping’s gone! I don’t feel like rapping. I’m just over that…I just want to be a rocker. It’s what I wanted to be when I was a kid”. Shaddix has added this remark in another interview: “We’re a band that tries to walk that line between metal, hardcore, punk rock and pop music, and we do our best at trying to make it all cool”.
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